Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What I Learned About Women from Chris Isaac and the Incredible Hulk….

"I am woman- hear me roar!" was a popular mantra in the early 70s, thanks (in large part) to Helen Reddy's popular song of the same title. It was a kind of feminist credo meant to draw the attention of society and announce the arrival of a new type of woman, one that was far less docile and submissive than the former. Nevertheless, as I was watching Marvel's Incredible Hulk the other night I discovered (at least became more aware of) another kind of feminine power, a power that in some ways is far more terrible and revolutionary than the kind which was championed by Reddy.

There may be a kind of woman out there who can roar like a lion, or at least like Katie Perry, but there is another kind of power which is, from my perspective, far more impressive. This kind of feminine force does not simply roar like a lion, but rather enchants like a lion tamer. This type of woman is not simply capable of striking like a snake, but is rather a snake charmer.

As I watched the Hulk, it dawned on me what a strange and nameless power Woman is. Indeed, she is practically the only thing in God's creation capable of "taming" the gamma ray poisoned Hulk. But equally as impressive, she is the only one capable of inspiring him to fight, especially when he might otherwise give up. In the movie, just when you think he is about ready to lay down in despair, he sees his beloved Betty Ross, and all of sudden that flash of green comes into his eyes and he's back in business.

However, even while this power is extraordinary, there is nothing particularly rare about it. As a matter of fact, you can observe this mysterious power/saving grace in just about every story about a monster and a girl. From King Kong to Beauty and the Beast to Tarzan (OK, so he's only a knuckle-dragging savage… but it's the same idea), there is really only one thing capable of curing, taming, and in some cases, bringing the monster down. Think about how bizarre and unbelievable it is to suggest that a sky scraper sized ape could be so soundly defeated by a tiny woman. Yet this phenomena isn't just true in the movies. Indeed, the power of the feminine to inspire and/or subvert is universal, which perhaps explains why some societies have done their best to muffle it.

Apparently even a woman's face can "launch a thousand ships". According to Chris Isaac, a woman is akin of savior figure; "The world was on fire and no one could save me but you". And yet this mysterious force is not without its complicating factors; "What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way. What a wicked thing to do to make dream of you… No, I don't want to fall in love… with you." Clearly the threat she poses is unlike any other one may encounter, for in war the fear is extremely one-dimensional, while the feminine ferocity is almost other-worldly and confounding, which may shed light on Mr. Isaacs strange ambivalence towards it, and may explain that 1980s Cutting Crew classic; "I Just Died in Your Arms."

A thousand other examples from art, music, and cinema could demonstrate the juggernaut which is woman. Woman is a plot twist if ever there was one. She is the paradox which causes a brute's knees to  bend and buckle even while his upper body is a mountain of strength. A woman is the very definition of subversive for this reason. But let it not be said that this is merely a silly kind of power (though irony certainly accompanies it), for in truth it may be the only thing standing between man and his own self-destruction, or as John Mayer once put it (who himself is a beacon of women's dignity); "the world would be gone without the love of a woman".

And of course John Mayer's words are true in the double sense of their meaning, for yes, a woman makes a man want to live for more than just himself and his appetites, but it is also in the most basic biological sense as well. For there is only one thing more terrifying and revolutionary than the power of a woman, and that is the power of the Mother and Child. Yes, such is the inscrutable nature of this force that the entire world has practically been conquered on account of it. The following scene comes from the film Children of Men. In the film no child has been born in over eighteen years, hence there is an incredible despair that sets in among the general populace. Nevertheless, this scene exquisitely depicts how people would react if they saw a mother and child, especially if there were none.



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